ENG1 is a UK certification standard, designed to show that a seafarer passes a minimum standard of health before working offshore. It must be performed by an MCA recognised doctor. We are pleased to announce Hawkes Health now have have a certified physician within their Dundee clinic. Appointments are available from June 14th 2022.
Regulations amending the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPE Regulations) come into force on 6 April 20221. They will ensure that all workers – not just employees – are provided with the same level of PPE protection.
The changes were required in response to a High Court judgment2 in November 2020. As reported in this journal3, the court determined that the UK had failed to implement fully two EU directives – Article 8(4) and 8(5) of the Framework Directive (89/391/EEC) and Article 3 of the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (89/656/EEC) – into UK law.
In bringing a claim for judicial review, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain argued that in failing to transpose properly the two directives, many workers in the gig economy had not been given the required legal protection. The union complained that the directives required member states to confer certain protections on ‘workers’, whereas UK legislation referred only to ‘employees’ – a gap that had existed since 31 December 1992 when national laws came into force.
The amendments to the PPE Regulations 1992 will affect employers that engage ‘dependent contractors’, who do not come under the scope of the current legislation. Broadly speaking, these are workers who are registered as self-employed but provide services as part of someone else’s business. Such workers receive holiday pay but do not have other employment rights (such as a minimum statutory notice period) and are not in business for themselves.
Responses to the public consultation on amending the legislation were generally positive, with most respondents agreeing that the amendments would be beneficial, for example through better protection of workers’ health and safety4. The HSE will publish updated guidance to support businesses impacted by the changes and ensure that workers are aware of their rights in respect of PPE at work.
-  EWHC 3050 (admin)
- Ballard J. Gig workers should be protected. Occupational Health at Work 2021; 17(5): 11–13 (subscription required).
- Amendments to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992: consultation response. Bootle: HSE, 2021
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that 1.3 million people (2% of the UK adult population) were experiencing self-reported ‘long COVID’ in December 20211. Significantly, more than half a million people said they had persistent symptoms at least 12 months after first having COVID-19.
Long COVID is defined as symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after the first suspected COVID-19 infection that are not explained by some other cause. Of people with self-reported long COVID:
- 270,000 (21%) first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 less than 12 weeks previously
- 892,000 people (70%) first had/suspected they had COVID-19 at least 12 weeks previously
- 506,000 (40%) first had/suspected they had COVID-19 at least one year previously
- fatigue was the most commonly reported symptom (reported by 51% with long COVID), followed by loss of smell (37%), shortness of breath (36%) and difficulty concentrating (28%)
- proportionally, long COVID was more common in people aged 35–69, women, those living in more deprived areas, people working in healthcare, social care or education, and those with another health impairment or disability.
An estimated 809,000 people (64% of those with self-reported long COVID) believed that they had symptoms that adversely affected their day-to-day activities. In total, 247,000 (20%) people reported that the impact had been significant (activities were ‘limited a lot’) – of whom 112,000 had symptoms that had lasted at least 52 weeks. The self-reported estimates were derived from people responding to a representative survey, rather than through clinical diagnoses.
An evidence review on returning to work after long COVID has been published by the HSE2. It summarises scientific evidence published up to the end of March 2021, but is based on just seven research papers meeting inclusion criteria. ‘There is a global need for large and long-term cohort studies with mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) in order to better understand the long-term consequences of COVID-19,’ the report concludes.
The review recommends following existing long COVID return-to-work guidelines published by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine3.
- Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK: 6 January 2022. Newport: ONS, 2022
- Return to work after long COVID: Evidence at 8th March 2021. Evidence Report ER003. Bootle: HSE, 2021
- Guidance for healthcare professionals on return to work for patients with long COVID. London: FOM, 2021
The Faculty Of Occupational Medicine has updated its Guidance on post-COVID syndrome.
The Guidance for healthcare professionals aims to assist them on return to work for people with post-COVID syndrome.
This Guidance for managers and employers aims to help them in facilitating the return to work of employees who may find this difficult because of post-COVID syndrome. The Faculty hopes that members will share this document with employers.
Both guides have been developed by a multidisciplinary group under the leadership of our Academic Dean, Professor Ira Madan. Commenting on the updated Guidance, she said:
“Post-COVID syndrome is a challenging illness for healthcare professionals and employers to manage. This guidance provides practical steps aimed at supporting the worker back into employment.”